Saturday, October 5, 2013

Naigani to Vuda Point

Naingani was pretty - compendium was right,the anchorage didn't look like it would be protected, but it was. Beautiful beach, looked like it would be good snorkeling, no internet. We didn't want to take the dinghy down, and Dennis and I were kicking around the idea of a swim to shore the next morning, but brrr it was chilly. So, we decided to wait until after coffee and get the generator started. Well, the generator decided that the dinghy motor had been getting too much attention. The alarm went off. Oil or water? hmmmm. Turns out it was a fuse on the fresh wgater pump. Second fuse to go in less than a month (the other was on something different). Easy fix though, hopefully that will keep the generator feeling loved and not taken for granted for a while. So that pretty much nixed the swim as we needed to get going. Our next destination? Viti Levu Bay.

We had a good sail winding our way thru the inner reefs. Curly's waypoints and our charts were good. No surprises. Sailing with the big jib only. Viti Levu Bay is a deep bay with several villages and great internet. Actually the internet got better and better as the day progressed. We anchored on the 10 - 15 meter shelf. Note that it gets shallow VERY quickly and the visibility in the water is poor so be happy with 10 meters. The holding was good - dark mud that took Josh about half an hour to wash off in the morning. Again, quite cool in fact downright cold at night. It appears that we have entered the "burn your fields/forest" zone. WOW! Might as well be in California or New Mexico during fire season. Josh said it looks like that Alta Mont pass by Tracy, right down to the burned patches. Definitely hard on our allergies and breathing. So I cooked the beef sausage I got at Maravu's meat in SavuSavu - don't do that. Yuck they were awful! In fact we threw more than half of them away (yes, Dennis Morrison said to throw them out, so you know they were terrible) Not even covering them in beans and rice made them palatable. Nasty! You know, cooking 3 meals a day for hungry men is not my favorite thing on a good day - Sure hate it when the food itself conspires against me!!!!

Up and at em early (relatively) the next day (friday). Headed for the anchorage by the pass out to the Yasawas. Another day of winding through the inner reef with the big jib only. We were racing the weather, so after lunch Dennis checked on it and we decided that maybe the hop to the Yasawas was not the best choice for the next day, so we went another 10 miles to the anchorage at Vatia Wharf. Again, good holding in mud (be patient Josh says the anchor will sink in and catch) we were in about 5 meters and put out 150 ft of chain. Again Josh had to rinse it in the morning. First times we have used the anchor wash since Mexico was the consensus. Pork fillets from Fiji Meats for dinner - major success!!

Up and at them really early on Saturday. Josh asked me what time it was at 0645 - and we were underway. It started off overcast and the visibility was pretty flat. It got better though as the morning progressed. We passed mega yacht number two (Virago - US flag 98 feet). Mega Yacht number one (Koo 148 ft) on Friday afternoon. I guess that means we are on the west side of Viti Levu - burning land and mega yachts! The sun came out as we approached Lautoka (52k people, busy port, sugar cane mill spewing more smoke). No promising anchorages, or at least any we were willing to take, so on to Saweni. got there and decided the current wind situation (from the North) made it a poor choice as well. That left Vuda Point Marina as our next option. So I called (really glad to have that phone!) and they said they had a space for us. The surprise on Josh's face when he figured out where we were/are was priceless! This is one place, that doesn't actually live up to its picture in the Fiji Marina guide. But it is still very nice. We got permission to enter the channel and headed in. It was low tide, so the 25 meter wide channel seemed pretty narrow, especially with all the exposed reef surrounding us. Dennis said he saw 8 feet on the depth reading! There is a nice bar/restaurant overlooking the channel, a fuel dock (cash only) and many other amenities. Our instructions were to moor on the orange ball and someone would come out and guide us into a slip. Well, the space they showed us seemed like wishful thinking, but hey who are we??? so with all the fenders out, boat hooks ready and lines for the stern and bow we as slowly as possible headed into our space. OMG I am fairly certain I sprouted a whole new crop of grey hair!!! We are literally a fender's width apart from our neighbors. We bumped the stern of the cat on the port side and just missed hitting the arch with our anchor on the starboard side. Talk about a chinese fire drill. I think even Josh got some grey hairs. Good to know he is not cavalier about his home - very worried about it all. But, here we are safe and sound. May have to spray WD40 on the fenders to slide us out of here, but we will worry about that when the time comes.

So, yeah it is nice here. Paul and Karen on GIGI (last seen in Fr. Poly) are here, Southern Cross is on the hard - dug in AND drum roll please........ Far and Away pulled in around 1700!! So yes, all is right in our little world at the moment. The batteries are getting electrons, Josh is getting a kid fix and a long shower and Dennis Paul and I are doing adult things like sitting at the almost beach bar and going out for Indian food. The staff here are friendly and helpful, the restrooms are nice and the store has just enough variety to keep everyone happy. There is a chandlery here (closed til Monday) and an ATM and taxis readily available. It looks like a bit of a hike to get to where the buses run, but certainly doable. Mohammed introduced himself and gave us his card. he is who we called to take us in to dinner last night, he was busy so his cousin Abdul One took us in. We laughed, cuz initially when he said his name i thought he meant Abdulwan - seemed different, but then he said something about his cousin Abdul Two and we understood. He has been driving from the marina for 18 years!

Today was a sleep in day, but sadly was wide awake early. A good thing though as the lady at the store said that bread came at 0700. We were there at 0710, and if we had been much later would not have gotten any bread!! Slice whole wheat too - yum and yay! So today we are going to relax for the most part. There is live music at the bar/restaurant starting at 1400, so we will probably head over there around then. Josh says we should clean up so he can invite the Far and Away kids over for a game of Risk.... I am thinking lots of popcorn. And really clean up????!!! Brat! I think it must be his turn to do dishes. He went over there last night and being the bad Mom that I am, I sent him with eggs and brownie mix. He wanted to go right that second, so what else was I to do???

Our dinner last night was interesting. We were expecting a restaurant, and what we got was a small market with a togo buffet. Fortunately it was also had a place to sit down and our food was made fresh. No alcohol served, but the food was really good. I had chicken chow mein, and Dennis and Paul had chicken and lamb curry respectively. We shared a side of chicken fried rice. It was all good, my only complaint was too much cilantro in the salad and fried rice. I certainly didn't go hungry though.

The expected weather has arrived - it is overcast and has rained a little. It is comfortable though. It is supposed to clear Tuesday, so we will plan to leave here and head to the closest islands for a couple weeks and then return here to prepare for the crossing to NZ. I hope to do some provisioning tomorrow, kind of get a jump on thinks before we come back. We have one or two projects that need to be done before we leave for NZ, including cleaning the bottom and repairing the leach on the main (again).

Well, caught up again. More later

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